"Scientists Uncover Billions of Tonnes of Water Trapped in Glass Beads on the Moon's Surface!"
Scientists have revealed that the Moon's surface is covered in billions of tonnes of trapped water, contained within tiny glass beads.
By studying samples gathered from the Moon during missions by China and the US, researchers discovered that glassy beads created by violent collisions between asteroids contain up to 45% water by weight.
The discovery could provide a boost to proposals to set up human colonies on the lunar surface by helping future explorers manufacture fuel, rocket propellants and oxygen for breathing.
It could also provide a valuable resource for astronauts who may one day venture further into space.
Lead author Dr Shuai Li, an assistant professor at the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, said:
“We had clues that H2O - water - might be present on the moon’s surface, but were unable to confirm this until now."
"The new findings definitely will have a big impact on our ideas about resources relevant for deep-space exploration."
Researchers believe that some asteroids contain large amounts of ice, which is then released into space when they collide with other objects at speed.
The heat generated then causes it to break down in tiny droplets which form glass beads loaded with trapped water molecules on impact with another body – in this case the moon’s surface.
Previous research had suggested the presence of hydroxyl groups within lunar material analysed during Apollo missions in 1969–72, but this is believed to be only at trace levels compared with what has now been found embedded in glass bead form.
The study suggests there are more than 1bn tonnes of water trapped inside ancient lunar rocks that have been bombarded by asteroids over time.
Scientists are now starting to map where these deposits are located around the Moon’s equator as part of their ongoing investigations into its origins and history.
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